[Paleopsych] marriage pool shrinking?

Christian Rauh christian.rauh at uconn.edu
Thu Jun 16 16:19:17 UTC 2005

What about the idea that marriage is now more of an option instead of an 
obligation and that drives the rates lower by increasing the selective 
criteria for a lifelong partner including the criteria of love?


G. Reinhart-Waller wrote:
> Michael, Here an alarming statistic:  since 1970, the marriage rate is 
> down by 35%.  During this period we've viewed the impact of "feminism" 
> on both the workplace and the classroom.  We've also watched 
> co-habitation for young people replacing traditional marriage vows and 
> advances in birth control measures preventing the arrival of 
> unplanned/unwanted offspring.  Many women delay marriage until they 
> finish their education and those entering a PhD program place their 
> studies far ahead of birthing children.  Medical advances allow even 
> post-menopausal women to give birth, something clearly unheard of for 
> past generations.  Psychologically a 50% divorce rate  has to have an 
> enormous impact on young marriage especially since many divorced women 
> with children fall into poverty.  Your evaluation has sparked a 
> discussion but in some circles could be seen as fairly naive.  
> Nevertheless, it offers food for thought.
> Gerry
> Michael Christopher wrote:
>> Gerry says:
>>>> I know way too many females post 30 who cannot find
>> any likely prospects.  Then again, there are many post
>> 30 males who don't wish to enter the marriage scene.  I think the 
>> problem is greater than "no one
>> available".  Maybe an examination of the "why" might
>> enlighten the question.<<
>> --Possibly because everyone has "issues" that
>> contaminate relationships. Fundamentalists and very
>> sensitive/shy people try to solve that problem by
>> being very selective and not getting heavily involved
>> until they are certain they've found the person they
>> want. Others have sexual relationships that don't
>> involve enough emotion to risk rejection or loss of
>> face. Others get married early, discover that marriage
>> isn't what they expected it to be, and leave when they
>> can no longer handle the obligations and routines. In
>> poor areas, many women find they have better earning
>> potential than the men, and reject marriage because
>> they can afford to. The perception that "all men are
>> dogs" or that "all women are whores who want your
>> money" can make a mess of things as well, with many
>> people exhibiting "borderline" traits in relationships
>> (swinging from "you are my god/goddess" to "you ruined
>> my life", grandiosity and dashed expectations, etc).
>> After a few rounds of that, a lot of people decide
>> it's just safer and less draining to have less complex
>> relationships.
>> There are two ways to address that: either improve
>> communication between the sexes and give them tools
>> for preventing catastrophic rifts in relationships, or
>> create a sense of being a tribe, with romantic
>> relationships on a lower priority level. If a single
>> relationship means everything, it's easier to get
>> disillusioned when minor obstacles accumulate, and
>> it's easier to explode in rage if you feel betrayed.
>> Romantic triangles dramatically affect people's sense
>> of status and belonging, and creating a sense of a
>> tribal safety net might even things out and make
>> relationships less volatile.
>> I'm not sure how fear of nuclear war and terrorism
>> will affect marriage patterns... will people marry as
>> soon as they feel safe (maybe feeling restless later
>> when less afraid) or will they avoid marriage in order
>> to avoid the pain of loss?
>> Michael
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                        ~ I G N O R A N C E ~

              The trouble with ignorance is precisely that
              if a person lacks virtue and knowledge,
              he's perfectly satisfied with the way he is.
              If a person isn't aware of a lack,
              he can not desire the thing
              which he isn't aware of lacking.

              Symposium (204a), Plato

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